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XPRIZE Reviews

Updated Nov 29, 2021

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Found 77 of over 85 reviews

2.5
41%
Recommend to a Friend
45%
Approve of CEO
XPRIZE CEO Anousheh Ansari
Anousheh Ansari
16 Ratings
Pros
  • "Amazing office space to work in(in 7 reviews)

  • "There are many smart hard working people who work here simply because of what’s possible(in 6 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "XPRIZE has been around for about 20 years, but still operates with a "start-up" mentality--this means a fast pace with a lot of change(in 13 reviews)

  • "Extreme Hostile work environment and HR is one person who lacks tact and gossips about everyone in the office(in 6 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
    1. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Rewarding Work!

      Nov 29, 2021 - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      People are generally very positive and motivated by the work we do and impact we can have on the world. Management continues to focus on improving structure and processes to make us all more effective and eliminate conflict. It is quite rewarding to know that your job is not just a salary, but also making the world a better place.

      Cons

      Very dynamic environment - many projects and initiatives running in parallel. Not for someone looking for a slow, laid-back non-profit environment. Rather it is more startup-like.

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    2. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      XPrize has great people and a great mission.

      Nov 24, 2021 - Senior Consultant in Los Angeles, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      XPRIZE is headed in a great direction - recently re-organized and new leadership team that rocks! I like the way it has organized into Domains which means there's more focus on the areas where the foundation can have impact. Really nice people. CEO is a female astronaut. Not many people can say their CEO has been in space - YET!

      Cons

      Some negative attitudes but that seems like a leftover from the past. The new people coming in seem great and excited about the impact opportunity.

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    3. 5.0
      Current Employee

      Most exciting place I've ever worked

      Nov 11, 2021 - Partnerships Manager in Los Angeles, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      XPRIZE has an incredible staff and support network full of brilliant individuals who are highly motivated to make a difference. XPRIZE has given me opportunities me to learn new things nearly every day and provided multiple opportunities to lean in and act as an intrapeneur.

      Cons

      There was a brief period of turbulence during the pandemic and some legacy issues resulting from tensions between executive staff who are no longer with the organization. There has recently been a restructure, which has brought in a new leadership team that is much more collaborative.

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    4. 2.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Talented and kind staff but ego-driven leadership

      Jul 13, 2021 - Anonymous Employee in Culver City, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Xprize includes some of the most talented and kind staff who have stepped up to support each other throughout the pandemic. You constantly see cross-functional collaboration and genuine efforts by coworkers to improve the organization's culture and embed their personal ethos into their daily work (including pre-pandemic). After George Floyd's murder, staff began working on an employee-driven anti-racism council (not publicly endorsed by the CEO) and also hold office hours to create a psychologically safe space for employee concerns and celebrations. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more empathetic and smart group of people doing great work elsewhere. The company's focus on grand challenges are well-intentioned.

      Cons

      Leadership is filled with ego-driven individuals who don't know how to communicate to and manage their employees, and promotions are almost impossible. Staff are better off treating Xprize as an ad agency and leaving in order to increase their pay and title. Just since the start of the pandemic there have been three structural re-orgs. Considering it's a non-profit that's been around for over 25 years, its core tenets and focus constantly shift; it's smart business to adapt to economic/research/market trends but a definite core flaw is to be opportunistic and just chase what you think will grow your brand (ie addressing challenges that only rich white people care about) at the cost of employees' job satisfaction. For a non-profit, it's worrisome to not know whether you have a job tomorrow after another re-org. Xprize's values are constantly reiterated with emphasis on trust and transparency but these pillars need to be implemented top-down and leadership lacks the accountability to do so. The allegiance that leadership demands is almost like a cult of personality and the company seems to be shifting in that ego-branded direction publicly. Inability to honestly and genuinely address staff concerns and imbuing constant positivity is actually toxic positivity and discounts employees' experiences. Leadership's opportunistic direction also lead to funders who are problematic (environmentally/culturally/ethically).

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      13 people found this review helpful
    5. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      Horrible

      Aug 2, 2021 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      -Good benefits -Relatively good salary -Some interesting people -Flexible work-from-home and hybrid work models due to Covid and after initial hesitation -Global brand, for some reason still reputable in some corners -Dynamic, hard-working, and involved founder (not without his issues)

      Cons

      -Total lack of humanity and disrespect of people in general and staff despite claims otherwise. Exploitative and abusive environment. -No ethics or morality, they will take money from anywhere and say or claim to do anything for it. -Non-transparent salary structure. Not uncommon for staff to find out that they are making way less than their colleagues even though they are doing more work. -Very limited advancement opportunities. Most people come to XPRIZE to go elsewhere, not stay. -Almost no impact for over 25 years of existence. Launching the "private space industry" because of the first XPRIZE is a laughable "achievement". During those 25 years the world witnessed so much technological advancement (mobile phones?), and they still claim that a couple of rich people going into orbit has transformed the world. -Except for the founder, and putting aside his issues, no one in the leadership has any vision or strategy. -Current CEO is an amateur. Her only achievement is that she was rich enough to pay $20 million or so to go to space and fund the first XPRIZE. Clearly does not have experience or skills to run such an organization. -Current CEO's salary in 2019 was $600K. Which non-profit CEO, especially of 50-100 staff, makes more than half a million dollars a year? And for what? -During Covid, they fired and furloughed a dozen or so employees and reduced salaries because of finances. In early 2021, they removed from the website the amounts top earners at the company were making because they don't want to show the bonuses the executives received at the end of the year. -Initial Covid days CEO did not want to close the office because, according to her, XPRIZE make the impossible possible and therefore are courageous to confront Covid and do things others don't. Shows you how much she cares about her staff's well-being. -Until much later in 2020, CEO kept insisting that the office will open and employees return, even when numbers were off the charts, insisting that staff were more likely to get infected with the virus at the gas station than in the office. -At the beginning of Covid, the company was looking into software to remotely monitor productivity of staff. -Extremely high turn over, the typical employee does not last more than 2 years, or maximum 3. This is partly because you get fired for no reason or just because there's someone else who's willing to do your job for less. Another reason is that you realize the reality soon after joining and leave at the earliest opportunity.

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      11 people found this review helpful
    6. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      Smoke and Mirrors

      Jul 30, 2021 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Cool office space. 75% of the people are hardworking, talented and amazing humans.

      Cons

      The reviews on Glassdoor are accurate and I fully validate their experience. Since others have spoken so eloquently about the culture, I will just offer some advice to those poor unfortunate souls who are still interested in joining the Foundation. During the interview, ask about: -Glassdoor reviews (too many bad ones over too many years to chalk it up to a few disgruntled employees) -Started with a lot of corporate funders (Qualcomm, Google, IBM, etc.) but they are no longer interested in funding prizes. Why? -After 25 years, why are so many funders still rich friends of Peter? -Revolving door of CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, HR, etc. Must be over 15+ people in these various positions that have come and gone. What's going on here? If you get answers to these questions and still accept an offer, here's some more advice: -Keep your tenure to 18 months max. -NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK. You never know when you will be on the receiving end of a "we don't need you anymore" conversation with whoever is in the HR department at that time and you will need to reach out to your network for your next gig. -Keep your head down, agree with whichever executive is complaining to you and pointing the finger at someone. Do not fall for the "we want to hear your thoughts" crap. Have your next gig lined up before you say anything, trust me you will need it. Anousheh Ansari will inspire you and leave you in awe, she's got her branding down. Don't fall for the BS, it's all smoke and mirrors. In that sense, she really is the perfect fit for XPRIZE.

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      12 people found this review helpful
    7. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      We change the world - and feel like it

      Oct 22, 2020 - Researcher in Los Angeles, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      We change the world. We really, really do. Where else can you say something like that?

      Cons

      Bit of chaos in the office, but of the good kind. People are friendly, productive and helpful.

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    8. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 1 year

      Come work here and we'll CRUSH YOUR DREAMS! Where Marketing careers fizzle.

      Oct 24, 2020 - Marketing in Los Angeles, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      We seem to do a good job convincing people not to pay any attention to the Glassdoor reviews, even though 90% of them are negative, and the other 10% are clearly not legitimate.

      Cons

      Sure – I suppose there was a brief period of time when I too thought I took the job at X-Prize for a larger purpose – to make the world a better place through our work. And that’s also a great recruitment hook (“ignore what you read on Glassdoor, that won’t apply to you, because you’re taking this job to SAVE THE WORLD – woo hooo!”). And for someone in Marketing – what a dream job, it would seem, to be able to share these incredible stories and to work in such an innovative environment. However, the truth is a bit different. It takes an average employee at X-Prize 9-12 months for the luster to wear off. There’s no changing-the-world here, unfortunately. You’d be hard-pressed to find one credible, legitimate example of that. Instead, we are forced to rewrite history, exaggerate or misrepresent the impact of the work we have done in the past. And there’s really no rhyme or reason why we do the things we do, other than opportunism (someone handing us a check), which becomes deflating the more you think about it. Perhaps one of the most disappointing things you’ll discover is the incredibly wide chasm between the innovation and creativity we claim to stimulate through the work we do, and the complete and total lack of innovation and creativity within our own four walls. Instead, we are saddled with unnecessary bureaucracy, we suffocate in layers and layers of approvals and archaic processes, and we actively discourage new ideas or anything that might be construed as dissent or even constructive feedback (our founder infamously says “the squeaky wheel gets replaced.”) There’s been a revolving door of CMOs, seemingly none who lasted even 2 years. A simple LinkedIn search will show you 7-8 people who have served that role in the past few years, and it’s usually unclear why they got the job in the first place. The most recent has been MIA for months – not attending key meetings – delegating everything to others in order to avoid accountability – and plainly just without the relevant experience or leadership skills to get the job done. I’ve sat through countless presentations in which he presented new sound effects and visual textures that should be part of our new branding (no joke) while never presenting an actual strategy or vision to accomplish the goals of the foundation. He's completely oblivious to the universal "eye-roll" that results every time he speaks. This is his first CMO role and it’s clear that he’s never led a team before, he has no non-profit experience, and has been floundering, hoping that his agreeable nature among leadership, or his charming British accent, will let him coast by a bit longer while he’s lining up another role. The Marketing department at large has the highest turnover in the foundation, and likely among the highest turnovers of ANY company. Dozens of people are let go every year, from a department that employs less than 10 people. It’s baffling. Also, you’ll find relatives of board members hired as staff, contracts with outside vendors/agencies that have been flagged as suspicious and certainly not part of a competitive bidding process, and so on. Furthermore, the volume of work for some people is pure insanity, but it's not evenly distributed, and it's just the result of poor (or no) planning, no real goals or benchmarks set at the top, and wasted time dealing with the unhelpful red tape. Listen – I get it. Who doesn’t want to change the world?! I sure did. But your energy and passion will be better leveraged elsewhere. This is not that place. Anyone that argues otherwise is simply not being genuine.

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      21 people found this review helpful
    9. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      "A Spaceship without a Mission Control - Career Stopper"

      Sep 23, 2020 - Prize Lead 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Let me preface my review with this: This review is meant to give you insight into what is currently going on at the company and what you will be dealing with on a daily basis. While reviews are generally skewed in a certain direction, this review is meant to give an honest experience of what an employee will face and give merit to other reviews that have been written on this foundation and clearly neglected. Pros 1. Some of the workers you'll get to work in the trenches with (yes ....trenches because you'll literally have to dig through the layers of feces (glassdoor version profanity) that you face on daily basis) are some of the most intelligent, hard-working, and real people you'll get to meet in your professional career. 2. Thats about it......

      Cons

      Cons 1. Career: Hope you enjoyed your career up until this point because applying for a position here will essentially force your retirement, leave you hating your job, or leave you stuck in the Sunken Place ala "Get Out" (pun not intended but applicable). The quote on the application for a position here "Willing to Wear Multiple Hats" ,with regard to helping in other areas outside your job description, will essentially lead you down a suffocating rabbit hole where your career will take more hits than Alice did in Wonderland. When you finally come to, you'll realize the job you applied for and the job your currently have have nothing in common, and unfortunately it'll set your career back around 5 years ( 5 years for every year at XPRIZE). Other reviews mention that XPRIZE has a start-up mentality, which is true, but the start-up here functions as successfully as the Zune was (for younger individuals the Zune was supposed to compete with the Ipod... RIP). Executive and senior level individuals will offer your services without even consulting or informing you leaving you with the same feeling as George Clooney floating away in space in Gravity. 2. CEO: The rating of the CEO on the Glassdoor page for XPRIZE, if anything is skewed up, when in actuality it should be much lower. A foundation like XPRIZE should have a CEO who clearly understands how to exactly execute the mission of the foundation while being able to clearly understand how to progressively transform how to set up prizes, reach a broader audience of donors and interested teams. Instead, the CEO has provided limitless funding to unproven platforms that frequent borderline plagiarism. Instead of uniting the workforce, especially during dangerous times we face now, frequently she uses weekly gatherings to attack and pick on individuals who simply ask questions in the company message board regarding new directions the foundation will be taking. Questions that arises essentially because of her lack of ability to clearly articulate and explain her vision for the company leading to general confusion and dissension. When questioned she flaunts that she was the "CEO at a multi-million dollar company", when in actuality if you search for the company "Prodea" ,which she is co-founder and serves as the Executive Chairwoman of, you'll see similar ratings to those of XPRIZE where individuals at the company were not even paid for their services. 2. Leadership & Inaction: Apart from what has been mentioned above about the CEO, the real leaders at this foundation have had their influence reduced and minimized by the CEO's promotion of certain individuals, in particular the Chief Innovation and Growth Officer. This individual had had multiple complaints filed against him to HR (oh by the way HR consists currently of one individual after the entire HR department was let go) and instead was rewarded by the CEO with a full time C-level executive position. He subverts the PrizeOps departments and has zero accountability and transparency with regard to what he actually does at the company. He regularly fails to attend weekly gatherings and inform the rest of the company on dealings leading to confusion. His department is funded based on lies and false promises that he claims his platform can deliver on and offer, that to this day have never been presented in front of the company nor verified by competent individuals. His “platform” is spearhead by the equally dubious Chief Technology Officer who works in tandem with the CIO. For those who truly enjoy their careers in IT, this individual will ruin your career. His lack of respect for his team is made self-evident through the outrageous deadlines he sets for his team combined with his arrogant and often insulting nature when it comes to berating members of the team in meetings. He frequently tries to scapegoat members of the team because of his own failures, basic lack of qualifications to be a CTO, and inability to deliver upon what he has promised, leading to an uneasy and often anxious feeling felt by those in the team. For those that disagree with his opinion, his solution is to question your loyalty to the team and subsequently seek to terminate your employment. His lack of planning is clearly evident to the rest of the organization as requests submitted by various department are frequently not met because of his fidelity to the Chief Innovation and Growth Officer’s requests which he prioritizes over others leading to certain departments striking out and seeking their own IT solution. He believes he is accountable to no one which further highlights his lack of respect for those members of his team who have to create his plagiaristic vision. If your looking for someone who truly cares about your personal growth and development in your career, you’ve come to the wrong place. XPRIZE has become the Titanic and these two individuals will sink this ship. 3. Transparency: Its as transparent as a one-way mirror. Team Council does its best, but the very implementation of a "Team Council", where executive leadership is not invited to, simply highlights the lack of trust that individuals feel in sharing their true thoughts and ideas about the foundation itself. 4. Work/Life Balance: None. Your work will consist of digging out of the millions of promises and requests accepted by your managers and executives that have been placed on your shoulders to deliver on. You'll always have a feeling of instability and anxiousness because failure to deliver on any one of these unreasonable requests in the absurd timeline presented will lead to off-the record calls in the middle of the night where you are chastised for not working 12 hours. Reporting any issues you’re having to HR is useless because of lack of confidentiality which will only speed up your exit. PTO is treated more as a gift rather than something you've earned and have the right to take. 5. The way this company initially handled COVID-19 was frankly embarrassing. Two individuals (the CTO and Chief Innovation and Growth Officer) were in Italy prior to news of the outbreak and no one at the company was alerted to the fact that they had been abroad and in contact with many individuals at the company. When companies began shutting down offices, employees began questioning what the delay was with regard to the actions that would be taken by executive leadership. An employee simply asked the question about what measures were being taken by the company in the foundation public discussion forum which was met by derision by the CEO, and that she would keep the office open for “those who wanted to come in” essentially mocking those who wanted to take precautions by working at home. A day later LAUSD closed all schools and the office was closed…..

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      35 people found this review helpful
    10. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Are You Misappropriating Your Nonprofit’s Funds

      Jul 15, 2020 - Associate in Culver City, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great talented staff. Great mission.

      Cons

      CEO just announced that we will be doing away with restricted and unrestricted funding. Nontheless the law says all 501(c)(3) non-profits must adhere to and restricted funding designations are made by the donors at the time of donation specifically, NOT by non-profit organization. It seems like CEO is very unaware of how non-profits should operate. Wishful thinking can get us all in trouble. CEO totally lacks much needed non-profit and financial experience. I guess she is learning as she goes. And, restricted means RESTRICTED! This is not a trivial matter. Donors can take legal action against a nonprofit that it believes is misusing restricted donations.

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      20 people found this review helpful
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